Tahlavain stood in the shadows, in front of the erect, iron sarcophagus studying the features of the figure carved into its lid. In the faint spillover of golden light from the next room he was just able to make out the sharp cheek bones, the large almond-shaped eyes, the pointed chin: it was almost as if the sarcophagus had been constructed for Tahlavain himself.
“One for each of us, and a few to spare” he mumbled to himself.
He peered down the hallway, into the darkness. A sudden chill swept over him and he stepped back toward the light. Tahlavain turned on the heel of his boot and walked softly over to his resting companions. Cah sat cross-legged, his hands on his knees, eyes closed in meditation. Next to him, Jihad knelt forward, head down in supplication before the altar of Corellon. Mutu was slumped in the corner behind them. Half syllables escaped from his mouth now and then and he tossed and turned.
“Tahlavain,” Cah said as he broke his trance. He looked up at the tall eladrin warrior and continued, “Are we safe?”
“Yeah. Sure. We should get moving. The Kaelol below will be waiting for us.”
“Not to mention the spiders.” The two looked over to see Jihad holding his new found long sword on his lap. He held the blade, a gift from Theron Silvertree, looking upon it with reverence.
“Don’t remind me Jihad. I still don’t feel right after the…,” Cah’s head dropped, recalling the horrific fangs that nearly did him in hours earlier. From the corner Mutu’s cries became louder.
“Sha-Shava… no… look out…. no… SHAVA!” Mutu woke with a start, the name of his sister still ringing on his parched lips. Cah and Jihad rushed to his side. Cah spoke first.
“Mutu? Are you okay? What’s wrong?”
“It was just a dream. You are safe here.” Jihad reassured him.
“No… I saw it. She is not safe. Shava is in danger. We must go back!” His eyes were wide in fear.
“We can’t go back.” Tahlavain strode over to his friends. The bloodthirst was still in his eyes. “The Kaelol already know we’re here, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to give them time to hunker down.”
“Tahlavain is right,” said Jihad, pushing himself to a stand. “We made an oath to Theron that we would seal the rift. We cannot go back on our word.”
“But Shava is our friend, and Mutu’s only kin. We saved her once. We can do it again!” Cah stood firmly next to Mutu. He continued, “We can’t very well split up. This place is too dangerous.”“Well, let’s put it to a vote and be done with it,” shouted Tahlavain, slamming the butt of his falchion into the stone floor.
The votes were cast. The party had a quest to fulfill and the 3 Eladrin could not justify abandoning that without evidence. Mutu would just have to wait.
With a shadow over the group, they returned to the lower level only to find the orc guards they had killed the day before replaced by fresh reinforcements. The Kaelol didn’t offer much trouble as Mutu flung himself into the battle recklessly, but three pesky goblin sharpshooters harassed the party from a distance. The group chased them down and managed to capture one. Jihad did his best to persuade the goblin that they meant no harm. It had little information to offer, however, and Tahlavain grew impatient. He cut the goblin down, justifying that they didn’t have time to waste on such cowardly and untrustworthy creatures.
The rest of the group was horrified by his actions. In the next room, they caught another goblin hiding under a bed. This time, Tahlavain left it up for the rest of the party to deal with. It helped lead them to the orcs’ quarters. Using it as a goblin shield, Tahlavain rushed in, but the goblin accidentally stepped on a hidden pressure plate, dropping a portcullis behind Tahlavain, cutting off the others.
Orcs rushed out of two connecting rooms in ambush as Tahlavain turned to face them. The Kaelol, seeing the lone intruder, thought they had an easy victory at hand. They couldn’t believe their eyes as Cah and Jihad suddenly appeared out of the feywild, directly in the middle of the fray. The orc’s leader Darko fell quickly. Jihad soon followed, having spent himself defeating the large orc. Soon Cah and Tahlavain found themselves hard-pressed, and Mutu could only hope as he sent arrows flying between the bars of the portcullis.
Tahlavain, hardly suffering a hit in all his fury, fought back the remaining few as Cah tried to revive Jihad. As the last orc fell, the party searched the room, finding a lever that raised the barrier. In Darko’s chamber they found an enchanted short sword and a stash of gold. Lying on a table was a note: the orcs were selling slaves to the Bloodreavers located in Thunderspire. Mutu could scarcely believe it. Shava and he might not be the last of The People of the Dawn!